Banks cut back on new credit card offerings. Good news or bad news?

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Equifax, one of the three largest consumer credit reporting agencies, is reporting that banks have issued 9.8 million new credit cards this year so far, which is 38% less than they issued last year.

No big surprise, but it's always interesting to see the actual percentages on just how bad things are. Or, of course, depending on your point of view -- how good things are. After all, as a 39-year-old, I can look back on my '20s and easily think the credit card companies gave me one or two too many credit cards. Maybe this 38% drop will help some people stay out of debt.

That said, I'm sure plenty of responsible people have likely been shut off from a credit card as well, and certainly many of the best and brightest financially-savvy people are seeing their credit limits lowered. According to the new Equifax numbers, the average limit on a new card has dropped 3%. The average limit on a new credit card is currently $4,594.

But while 3% isn't much, some people, whose credit lines are or were far above the average, are obviously seeing their credit limits plunge. One of my best friends recently watched his $30,000 credit line drop to $5,000 for no apparent reason, and this guy is one of the most responsible people I know, not just with money but with every aspect of his life. And as irony would have it, he works at a bank.
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